Saturday, March 21, 2009

Have you Signed UP?

Support Earth Hour
This will be the second year I have participated in Earth Hour . Last year's Earth hour was very successful in Toronto and as the Video at the link below attests, power consumption dropped significantly in Toronto which showed that there was a great deal of participation.

So what does this prove? Obviously, the energy savings from the one hour are not going to do anything to stem the tide of global warming or to save the world. However, it shows that people the world over are kee enough to make the effort to spend an hour without lights on. It shows awareness of the issue and a desire to make change. Politicians and policy makers take note of this and therefore it adds motivation (if there isn’t enough already).

It is also a good excuse to bond with neighbours. My condo apartment has an “earth day party” in the party room for residents to come and be “in the dark” together. Last year they served green jello shooters, which tells a lot about the age of the residents!. Ha Ha.

I work at RBC and the CEO sent out a note to all staff stating that all RBC offices would be participating to the extent possible allowed within the confines of safety. He encouraged everyone to sign up and indicate their support. Many companies world wide have joined the Earth Hour movement. This is important.

So, if you have not done so already, go to the link and sign up. There are also some other very interesting videos on the site and a lot of “blogger tools” (I added one at left which I will leave for the week) to help spread the word. And lay in a bunch of candles for next Saturday and plan a great evening to celebrate that we can reduce our consumption, not only of hydro but celebrate that there is a wide following promoting an attitude of careful conservation and preservation of all our resources.


Now that I have that out of the way - it was most important so had to go first in this blog - I PASSED MY PMP EXAM YESTERDAY!!!!!! I was somewhat dissatisfied, while they don't give a grade there were too many questions I puzzled over .
It is a computer exam and it is scored immediately upon finishing. You are provided with a result on each of the 6 sections of the exam: either "deficient", "moderately proficient" or "proficient" and an overall "pass" or "fail". This exam was unlike any of the technology exams I have written in that it did not test just knowlege of right vs wrong, but also required you to know "the best" of 2 or 3 fully correct answers! The other comment was that the question wordings frequently had me confused as to what they were asking. The only saving grace on the whole thing - which allows me to sit back and let all this stupidity just flow out of my brain - there was not one question on the exam which I felt the least uncomfortable with that mattered. So enough is enough.

Now that I have my PMP it is time to think up another stretch goal to assist my career. I am thinking about some ideas and will fill you in once they solidify.

The Great Recession

Now it officially has a name. Some of the major news sources have coined the phase "The Great Recession" and it seems to be sticking and was used by a US public official to refer to what otherwise is called "this mess". At this point, I don't think we have it nearly as bad in Canada as many places elsewhere - but we are not heading out of it yet it seems. Even if the stock market does start it's slow climb back up it that does not mean that we are out of the water. The stock market is a leading indicator for recovery - that means that the recovery of the stock market will happen before the recession ends.
The reason is that the folks that buy and sell stocks anticipate what will happen and react.... The other observation that one can make - because no one really knows in advance if it has ended - that the market will go up and down as people think the economy is recovering and they buy stocks then they realize it is not and then they sell them. Once you see we have had sustained improvements over a period of months then you can see that the market will have trended up over the previous months...

Last Friday we broke the record 8 straight days of up market improvements in the TSE and ended the Friday down 2.1% from the previous day, but up 2.4% for the week!. It was up overall for the week. So is the market recovering? Would be nice, but I think not - because there are many examples of what appear to be the start of a rally and which ends up subsequently looking for a new low. It seems too soon by my mind.

I listened with some interest in the news reports regarding a demonstration that was taking place in France yesterday - they were demonstrating that the government has not done enough to improve the economy. Many of the European governments have declined the kind of monetary intervention that the US and GB have been advocating - but of course they are the two worst hit countries, the ones with the most messed up financial institutions. Obama has made comments that he would like to see more Government stimulus in Europe, but the European governments are not biting. They believe their countries are in a better position as their financial institutions are better regulated - and make no mistake they are - but I don't know if that is enough. It may be that these countries will have a longer and more sustained recession as a consequence - we will have to wait and see.

This and That

I have clipped a lot of news articles in the last few weeks but not had time to blog about them. So I will now start trotting them out - a few at a time.

I had to laugh at a recent Globe and Mail Headline "Man Reluctantly Rescued from Leap Over the Falls". The wording of this headline made me think that perhaps the Paramedics were busy watching Dr. Phil and were reluctant to leave their program and go give assistance. That was not the case at all.

Apparently this man, hell bent for destruction, jumped into the Niagara River above the falls and went over the falls - without barrel - as is the choice of dare devils who try this - or other protective gear - it was not his desire to survive. Fortunately the rescue effort was launched very quickly and a helicopter was dispatched to fish him out. The rescuers were quite disturbed that the man waved them away telling them to let him drown! As it turned out the man was not reluctantly rescued but was reluctant to be rescued - quite a difference.

Putting the gravity of the situation from March 12th aside for the moment, just goes to show you that when it is your time to go, perhaps a barrel (or a helmet referencing the recent death of  Nathasha Richardson from a skiing accident) would not help - just as in this example, if it is not your time to go you don't need to worry about any protective gear - even as you go over the falls!

Incidently, the first man in the record books to go over the falls wasBobby Leach in 1911.  He went over the falls in a "barrel" and is shown at right. 

As a last added note, you will find that the link above brings you to the Globe News Article - which can be purchased for $4.00 if you want to read it! This article was available and free for the reading in the internet version of the Globe on March 12th. I guess I will need to be vigilant about making notes relating to internet news items I want to blog about later. It also reinforces that the news industry is reaching out for new models toward profitability as so many of us are reading our news via internet - free without cost as an ever dwindling number spent their dollars on purchasing the Newspaper in print. This new media, I am coming to believe, will at some point make printed newspapers extinct. A sad thing, I know for at least one of my regular readers!

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